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Action on Climate Change Needed to Save Great Barrier Reef

August 14, 2014
Environmental Protection

The latest strategic assessment of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has concluded that its future depends on how rising greenhouse gas levels are addressed worldwide.

Released alongside the Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2014 the document which was produced by The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority with contributions from Australian and Queensland government agencies analyses the issues that affect the reef’s survival and the measures needed to provide protection. Climate change, poor water quality, fishing practices and coastal development have all been outlined as having a significant impact on the reef over the past five years. However, there have been some increases in the numbers of humpback whales and loggerhead turtles.

The report says: “Even with the recent management initiatives to reduce threats and improve resilience, the overall outlook for the Great Barrier Reef is poor, has worsened since 2009 and is expected to further deteriorate.” Stretching over 1400 miles along Australia’s east coast the great Barrier Reef is home to the world’s largest collection of corals containing over 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusc.

At a meeting in Doha in June, the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO deferred until next year a decision on whether to place the 300,000-sq-km reef on its list of sites in danger. To date the Queensland and federal government have committed $180 million to reef improvement programs. 

You can view the 2014 Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report here.